Government shutdown puts WIC funding at risk for thousands in Duval County

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Congress has until Saturday to make a deal on the federal spending bill and avoid a government shutdown, which could impact millions of Americans, including children.


Funding for the Women, Infants, and Children program would be off the table immediately if there is a shutdown.

The Department of Agriculture said WIC helps protect the health of low-income women and children younger than 5 years old at nutritional risk. The White House said last year, that included nearly half of all infants nationwide.

Sabrina Gines is a local teacher and grandmother of two 2-year-olds. She works every day of the week while also caring for her children with her husband, who is a disabled vet. She relies on WIC funding every month.

READ: The federal government is headed into a shutdown. What does it mean, who’s hit and what’s next?

“At least we can say that my granddaughters will have 100% juice, they will have their milk, they will be able to eat fruit and vegetables that a lot of kids don’t,” Gines said.

According to the Florida Department of Health, 422,131 Floridians used WIC funds in 2022. 16,261 in Duval, 3,882 in Clay, and 531 in St. Johns.

However, Gines is concerned about how a government shutdown could impact her grandchildren.

“Now I’m looking at where the milk is going to come from? Where is their stuff going to come from? Me and my husband, we can live on bologna and bread — but not them. That’s what the government is not understanding.”

Action News Jax reached out to each of the members representing Northeast Florida in Washington about what it would take to get their vote on the spending bill.

Representative Kat Cammack did not provide a statement. Aaron Bean and John Rutherford could not fit interviews into their schedules on Tuesday but requested to do a later time in the week.

Representative Mike Waltz said, “It’s essential any legislative package reduce the federal government’s out-of-control spending and force a change to the Biden Administration’s disastrous border security policies. Our conference has members across the ideological spectrum and I am hopeful we can come to an agreement soon.”

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